An Indian-American group led by several doctors, who trace their origin to Bihar and Jharkhand, has launched a free telemedicine helpline for COVID-19 patients back home.
Led by Dr Avinash Gupta, who is president of Bihar and Jharkhand Association of North America (BJANA), and several of Indian-American doctors, the group is using the internet and apps to provide free healthcare consultancy to those who have tested positive for COVID-19.
"This is part of our effort to help in whatever way we can with our people back home,” said Alok Kumar, former FIA president. In the first few days, nearly a dozen doctors have been able to provide free tele help to scores of COVID-19 patients.
Lack of awareness is one of the major things that the doctors here have noticed. BAJNA has tied up with two local NGOs - Aashtha and Asha – to support this cause. In addition to one-to-one consultancy, BJANA doctors are also organising Zoom sessions to share details of the various aspects of COVID-19.
BJANA is also working to send essential medical supplies to Patna, Kumar said.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.